Tesla Supercharger in Laurel, Maryland is Now Open

The Tesla Supercharger in Laurel, MD quietly opened around 11:30 AM Friday, September 23, 2016. Tesla driver Vera Schoeters was the first to plug in according to the electrical contractors who had just finished some final work and moved the orange cones out of the eight stalls.

Laurel Tesla Supercharger

photo by @verastamps

Construction of the Supercharger station at the Towne Centre at Laurel began on May 4, 2016. Major construction had been completed by June and the site appeared ready to open but the power remained off for several months apparently due to technical issues that were resolved by the crew last week.

On Sunday, September 25th, a group of Tesla owners and enthusiasts gathered for an unofficial ribbon cutting to inaugurate the Laurel Supercharger. Although Tesla hasn’t officially commemorated it, Laurel appears to be the 300th Supercharger station to open in the US according to the statistics on supercharge.info.

About 23 Teslas, including a Roadster and several Model X’s were at the celebration. After the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon, many of the attendees continued the socializing at one of the restaurants in the Towne Centre.

A few hints for new visitors to the Laurel Supercharger:

  • The closest bathroom is in the lobby of the Regal Cinema.
  • A Starbucks is in the Harris Teeter grocery store.
  • Harris Teeter, open 6 AM – midnight, has WiFi and a seating area.

Here is a Directory of Shops & Services at Towne Centre at Laurel.


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Laurel Supercharger Opening Soon?

UPDATE: Laurel Supercharger is open as of September 23, 2016.


According to the Property Manager at Towne Centre at Laurel, Tesla plans to open the Laurel Supercharger sometime this week. Lawrence Lashley, who works for Greenberg Gibbons Commercial, the development group that owns and operates the Towne Centre at Laurel, told Plug In Sites in a phone interview that he spoke with Tesla yesterday and that Tesla hopes to open the Supercharger Station by this Saturday, September 17.
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Funds Nearly Depleted for Maryland Plug-In Vehicle Excise Tax Credit for Fiscal Year 2017


UPDATE: Funds are now depleted.

Maryland plug-in electric vehicle buyers may want to be aware of this. According to the Maryland MVA, the funds for the Plug-In Vehicle Excise Tax Credit for fiscal year 2017 are nearly depleted.

The following bulletin is dated August 29, 2016

Please be advised that the allotted funds for plug-in electric vehicles for fiscal year 2017 are nearly depleted. Once funds are gone, the program will end and we will not accept or process any excise tax credits for plug-in electric vehicles. Please alert your customers to this information prior to their purchase.

We will issue another Bulletin when the funds are gone.

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Level 1 Workplace Charging – Dept. of Energy Report


A report on Level 1 (120 volt) EV charging at work has just been published by the US Department of Energy. The 20 page report covers two scenarios for providing Level 1 EV charging at workplaces. Scenario A is making a 120 volt outlet available for employees to plug their own charging equipment into. Scenario B is the workplace providing Level 1 charging equipment with a J-1772 connector for employee use.

Level 1 charging is capable of replenishing between 30 and 40 miles of range while connected for an 8 hour workday. Over 90% of employees in the US commute less than 35 miles.


The report suggests policies that employers can put in place to help ensure the success of a workplace charging program. Fee structures to recover the cost of Level 1 charging are also suggested.

The experiences of several Department of Energy Workplace Charging Challenge partners, including Coca-Cola in Atlanta and Melink in Milford, Ohio, are shared.

A PDF of the report can be downloaded at the Dept. of Energy website: L1 Charging At The Workplace.

Why Some Baltimore Charging Stations Are Padlocked


Some EV drivers have noted that padlocks have appeared on three of the four Level 2 charging stations in the Arena Garage in Baltimore City preventing them from being used. I reached out to the City of Baltimore to ask why.

According to Chance Dunbar, off-street parking manager for the Parking Authority of Baltimore, the three charging stations have been removed from service because of low demand for EV charging in that garage. “We cannot keep these spaces reserved and empty, so until demand increases they will not be utilized for EV vehicles only.”

Frank Lee, an energy analyst in the city’s Department of Public Works said there have apparently been many ICE drivers demanding to use those parking spaces on the 2nd level of the garage. Mr. Lee indicated that there have been no EV drivers that have requested to use the charging stations. Continue reading

National Park Service: No Free EV Charging


Catoctin Mountain Park Seeks NPS Waiver to Open Public Charging Stations

Last Sunday, I learned that five EV charging stations at Catoctin Mountain Park that are supposed to be available to the public have not been turned on since they were installed in December last year. The project cost $69,580 as part of a US Department of Energy and National Parks Initiative to support clean transportation and educate park visitors on the benefits of cutting vehicle emissions and petroleum use. At the Visitor Center parking area, a sign identifying the charging stations is covered by a dark plastic bag.

I reached out to the park superintendent who directed me to a staff member who has been working to get the EV charging stations open. When I spoke with her this week, she explained the challenges of navigating the National Park Service rules and regulations related to providing public access to the equipment.

When the park originally requested funding for the project through a U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities grant, they had planned to let the public use them free of charge. The staff researched other National Parks that had charging stations and found that only a few examples existed at the time. Catoctin chose to base their plan on the model of Zion National Park. Zion used ClipperCreek Model CS40 charging stations with Liberty Access Technology keypads that use codes that are not dependent on WIFI or a network connection. The keypads were to be there only as a contingency in case the park wanted to control access in the future. Continue reading

Catoctin Mountain Park EV Charging Stations


Status: Inoperative
While touring around Maryland in our EV this weekend, we decided to drive up to Catoctin Mountain Park near Thurmont to check on the EV charging stations there. The National Park Service and the US Department of Energy’s Clean Cities, have partnered in a project to deploy EV charging stations in a number of National Parks including the Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah National Park and Catoctin. One of the stated goals of the initiative is to “educate park visitors on the benefits of cutting petroleum use and vehicle emissions.”

On the Clean Cities website, it says that Catoctin Mountain Park will install electric vehicle charging stations for park and public use. Information found online suggests that a request for bids for construction of five EV charging stations at three locations at the park was solicited in July, 2015 with a project magnitude of $60,000 – $80,000.

The Catoctin Mountain Park Facebook page announced the charging stations on December 18, 2015 with a photo of the Park’s new C-max Energi car plugged in. The caption said, “Although the charging stations aren’t quite ready for visitor use, they will be soon.”


When we arrived at the Visitor Center parking lot Sunday afternoon, the sign on the two ClipperCreek stations was covered with a dark plastic bag. I went inside and asked the Rangers about the status of the stations and one looked at me and said that the charging stations have not been turned on and he doesn’t know when they will be, “if ever.”

If ever? I asked what he meant by that. He said everyone needs to get on the “same page” before it will be turned on. When I pressed for details, it seemed that the charging stations are caught in some sort of intractable bureaucratic limbo. Then I started asking what needs to happen and what I can do to help get the process moving forward so that the public, who evidently have already paid for the charging stations, can actually use them as intended.


The other Ranger asked me to wait while she went in the back to talk to someone. She returned with a paper with the name and contact info for the park superintendent. She said the delay has something to do with getting an intermediary for the payment mechanism. There is a Liberty access control kedpad on each of the stations and the stations do have power but no apparent way to pay or authorize use to the public.

I have contacted the park superintendent and will update this post when I know more.

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Tesla Superchargers Coming to Maryland House Travel Plaza on I-95


Tesla, in coordination with The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA), and Areas USA, will be installing a Supercharger station at the Maryland House Travel Plaza on I-95 near Aberdeen. This location will be about 34 travel miles south of the Newark, DE Supercharger and 50 miles north of the Laurel, MD Supercharger.

Eight Charging Stalls Expected by Mid-October

“Tesla will be coming to the Maryland House with 8 charging stations,” said Carlos de Jesus, Director of Operations for Areas USA, operator of the Travel Plaza. “We expect them up and running by mid-October.” Tesla Superchargers are free for Tesla electric vehicle owners to use. The Superchargers can furnish up to 170 miles of range in as little as 30 minutes. Tesla will be paying the electric utility bill for the energy consumed by the Superchargers.

Superchargers are also being considered for the Chesapeake House Travel Plaza, 15 miles north of Maryland House. Those plans, including the proposed number of stalls, will be based on data gathered from the first year of usage at the Maryland House.

Universal DC Fast Chargers Also Planned

Two separate areas have been allocated for EV charging at each of the two Travel Plazas. One is for the Tesla Superchargers and the second area will be for charging stations that can be used by other electric vehicles, presumably with CHAdeMO and SAE Combo connectors. The operator intends to partner with a charging company other than Tesla to install those stations in the near future.

Maryland House is one of the busiest travel plazas in the country, serving nearly 3 million visitors a year. The operator plans to advertise the EV charging stations to visitors on video monitors inside the building.


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Signs Posted at Columbia Association EV Charging Stations


Three Year Effort Pays Off
On March 4, 2013 I contacted the Columbia Association, a non-profit community organization that had recently used a U.S. Dept. of Energy grant and their own funds to install five EV charging stations at four of their facilities in Howard County, Maryland. I thanked them as an EV driver and suggested they post “no parking except for electric vehicle charging” signs at the charging stations since there were often gas vehicles parked in front of them.


Other EV drivers also contacted them about the ICEing problem. The response we got was that they had designed blue signs that said, “Electric Vehicle Charging Station.” They added that they were not willing to post signs that restricted parking to electric vehicles only, in part, because there were no enforceable regulations similar to those for handicapped spaces. Continue reading

Regulatory Signs for EV Charging and Parking Facilities


A Policy Statement issued June 17, 2013 by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration addresses regulatory sign standards for electric vehicle charging and parking facilities. [Link to webpage]


This Policy is intended to provide guidance based on the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD) for uniformity among regulatory signs used for on-street electric vehicle charging and parking sites.

This Policy can be shared with local officials and property owners that wish to have signs that conform to MUTCD specifications that are required in some jurisdictions in order for the police to enforce anti-ICEing laws. (legislation reference)

PDF of sign examples

Source: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Policy Memorandum.

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